EMS Educational Programs Race to be Ready for Mandatory New Paramedic Student Requirements Effective January 2023
CoAEMSP which accredits EMS educational programs implements new Student Minimum Competency (SMC) Matrix
“The SMC is not fundamentally a bad guide. However, we MUST ensure the tools which are meant to help us keep track of it don’t get in the way of the actual paramedic education”— Julianne Stevenson
AUSTIN, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, December 26, 2022/ EINPresswire.com / -- POP QUIZ! You are looking at a patient care report (PCR) submitted by your paramedic student who hopes to graduate soon. How do you distinguish between a learning or “formative” contact and a successful culminating or “summative” performance? What are the characteristics of the report which are readily and repeatedly applicable to make the distinction? How can we automate this judgment call?
The Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions ( CoAEMSP ) developed a prescribed series of required contacts and skills (known as the “Student Minimum Competency” or SMC matrix) that each paramedic student must meet prior to graduation; our “Pop Quiz” is relevant as educators and EMS educational tracking software vendors must now answer this question as the answer is integral to populating the new SMC.
The purpose of the SMC is to assist EMS educators to develop, document, and ensure a robust educational experience for the students. A new version of the SMC is mandated for implementation in all cohorts which start on or after Jan 2023, and word on the street is that not all vendors are ready.
“It is both a theoretical AND a technical question,” says Julianne Stevenson. Stevenson is a long-time paramedic and educator who founded Sterling Credentials --a platform she describes as “a full toolkit to support EMS educators, their teams, and the students.”
One function of the Sterling platform is to automate SMC data tracking. Sterling has actually been enrolling paramedic cohorts into the “new” SMC since January of last year.
“When they rolled out the “new” SMC in Sept 2021, we just trashed all our development plans so we could focus on getting that thing up and running,” says Stevenson. “We recognized the benefits of the new SMC over the previous iteration. And, since we only focus on EMS there was no question about how or where to focus our resources.”
Stevenson answers our “pop quiz” question in her in-depth article How to Apply the 2023 “New” CoAEMSP SMC for EMS Educators
“The SMC is not fundamentally a bad guide. However, we MUST ensure the tools which are meant to help us keep track of it don’t get in the way of the actual paramedic education,” Stevenson adds.
Additionally, educators must ensure their paramedic graduates achieve yet another list of requirements. The National Registry of EMT’s (NREMT) provides certification examination services and requires paramedic candidates to have documented an array of experiences as detailed in the Paramedic Psychomotor Competency Package (PPCP) to become eligible to sit for the exam.
The SMC alone is a complex document with five different tables. “Many people don’t realize we also need to continue documenting our NREMT PPCP,” says Stevenson.
Stevenson continues, “We were all under the impression that the new SMC would replace the NREMT PPCP; however, in the absence of official statements confirming that we at Sterling Credentials also track two additional charts to ensure the PPCP is also met.”
Stevenson thinks she’s got the challenges under control, “We’ve been successfully populating the new 2023 SMC and the 2015 NREMT PPCP for nearly a year. Additionally, during our three years of paying clients, nobody who tried us has ever left us.”
“We’ve even had two of what I call ‘rescue cases’,” she adds. She explains these schools were a semester into a paramedic cohort and switched to Sterling midstream. “That’s unheard of and speaks to the utter misery of everyone battling the SMC, but we had them tooled up and grabbing data in less than 24 hours. These successes show me we’ve hit the target.”
The CoAEMSP has a number of resources to help educators understand the new SMC including a number of guidance documents and recorded webinars. Stevenson advises you also check with your vendor to be sure they are ready, “You don’t want to be in for a nasty surprise just as you’re firing up a shiny new paramedic cohort!”